Tag Archives: Afghanistan

11 US Marines and a Navy medic were killed in the Kabul bomb, officials said.

Civilians, US troops among dozens killed in Kabul blasts: Live | Taliban  News | Al Jazeera
11 US MARINES AND A NAVY MEDIC WERE KILLED IN THE KABUL BOMB, OFFICIALS SAID

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport Thursday, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. The attacks killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops, Afghan and U.S. officials said.

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The U.S. general overseeing the evacuation said the attacks would not stop the United States from evacuating Americans and others, and flights out were continuing. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said there was a large amount of security at the airport, and alternate routes were being used to get evacuees in. About 5,000 people were awaiting flights on the airfield, McKenzie said.

The blasts came hours after Western officials warned of a major attack, urging people to leave the airport. But that advice went largely unheeded by Afghans desperate to escape the country in the last few days of an American-led evacuation before the U.S. officially ends its 20-year presence on Aug. 31.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killings on its Amaq news channel. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is far more radical than the Taliban, who recently took control of the country in a lightning blitz. The Taliban were not believed to have been involved in the attacks and condemned the blasts.

In an emotional speech from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden said the latest bloodshed would not drive the U.S. out of Afghanistan earlier than scheduled, and that he had instructed the U.S. military to develop plans to strike IS.

“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said.

U.S. officials initially said 11 Marines and one Navy medic were among those who died. Another service member died hours later. Eighteen service members were wounded and officials warned the toll could grow. More than 140 Afghans were wounded, an Afghan official said.

One of the bombers struck people standing knee-deep in a wastewater canal under the sweltering sun, throwing bodies into the fetid water. Those who moments earlier had hoped to get on flights out could be seen carrying the wounded to ambulances in a daze, their own clothes darkened with blood.

Emergency, an Italian charity that operates hospitals in Afghanistan, said it had received at least 60 patients wounded in the airport attack, in addition to 10 who were dead when they arrived.

“Surgeons will be working into the night,” said Marco Puntin, the charity’s manager in Afghanistan. The wounded overflowed the triage zone into the physiotherapy area and more beds were being added, he said.

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The Afghan official who confirmed the overall Afghan toll spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one explosion was near an airport entrance and another was a short distance away by a hotel. McKenzie said clearly some failure at the airport allowed a suicide bomber to get so close to the gate.

He said the Taliban has been screening people outside the gates, though there was no indication that the Taliban deliberately allowed Thursday’s attacks to happen. He said the U.S. has asked Taliban commanders to tighten security around the airport’s perimeter.

Adam Khan was waiting nearby when he saw the first explosion outside what’s known as the Abbey gate. He said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who were maimed.

The second blast was at or near Baron Hotel, where many people, including Afghans, Britons and Americans, were told to gather in recent days before heading to the airport for evacuation. Additional explosions could be heard later, but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said some blasts were carried out by U.S. forces to destroy their equipment.

A former Royal Marine who runs an animal shelter in Afghanistan says he and his staff were caught up in the aftermath of the blast near the airport.

“All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47,” Paul “Pen” Farthing told Britain’s Press Association news agency.

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UK nurses express their ‘solidarity’ with their colleagues in Afghanistan.

As the Taliban’s tragic takeover of Afghanistan proceeds, nurses from around the UK have shown their support for their nursing and health colleagues.

Nurses feed newborn babies rescued and brought to Ataturk National Children’s Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 15, 2020, after their mothers were killed in an attack on a maternity ward operated by Doctors Without Borders. The health-care nonprofit runs clinics and hospitals in various parts of the country.

In the midst of political instability, members of the profession have asked for the “protection and support” of Afghanistan’s healthcare personnel.

“As a profession, nursing is about people and no matter how far away they may be from our shores we are compelled to act”

The RCN

Meanwhile, nurses have expressed special worries about the hazards presented to women and girls, in light of the Taliban’s track record on women’s rights.

Following the withdrawal of US soldiers, Taliban insurgents have swept throughout the nation, seizing control of the country’s capital, Kabul, over the weekend.

Disturbing footage from the broader media has revealed thousands of residents attempting to flee the situation, while reports reveal cases of women being compelled to abandon their professions in order to replace males.

The Royal College of Nursing said in a statement released Tuesday evening, “The devastating situation in Afghanistan continues to leave the world in great distress and asking what more we and our political leaders can do.”

“Those working in nursing in the UK are thinking about colleagues doing similar work in unimaginably different circumstances,” it said.

The institution noted that Afghan health professionals had “had encountered a significant number of obstacles in recent years, including tremendous shortages of healthcare staff and purposeful acts of violence.”

“We expect the international community to stand with nurses in Afghanistan now, and the communities they serve too,” the RCN added.

“We call for the protection and support of this workforce as they continue to undertake their essential role”

The RCN Feminist Network and We Are Global Nurses

It emphasized that it was “dedicated to recognizing and supporting nursing professionals worldwide in their pursuit of safety, staffing, working conditions, and development.”

“As a country, we must not shirk our international humanitarian responsibilities,” it stated. “As a profession, nursing is about people, and we are obliged to intervene no matter how distant they are from our shores.”

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It said the groups “stand together in solidarity with our nursing and health care colleagues in Afghanistan as they continue to provide care for their population amidst political upheaval”.

“We call for the protection and support of this workforce as they continue to undertake their essential role,” added the statement.

They went on to express their concern for Afghan residents, particularly women and girls.

“It is our job as nurses and nursing staff to speak out about human rights, and we are very worried about the threats that the present political scenario poses to some Afghan people, particularly women and girls.

“We urge all UK nursing organisations to speak up for the people of Afghanistan to have equal human rights, access to healthcare services and education.”

Boris Johnson

The groups also appealed to the UK government to “urgently provide safe routes for refugees to enter the UK and advocate for the human rights of everyone in Afghanistan”.

This morning, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed to parliament that the government was committed to relocating 5,000 Afghans this year.

He said that, so far, the government had “secured the safe return of 306 UK nationals and 2,052 Afghan nationals”, as part of its resettlement programme focusing on “the most vulnerable, particularly women and children”.

Mr Johnson noted that a further 2,000 Afghan applications had been completed and that “many more” were being processed.

He stated that the issue will be monitored in the future, “with the potential of accommodating up to 20,000 [people] in the long run.”

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Afghanistan: Female nurses provide essential treatment to neglected rural villages

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

In a student hostel in Jalalabad, Afghanistan something extraordinary taking place. A young woman sits on her hostel bed, bent over a textbook. This is Abida, and she is training to be a nurse in a country where most women haven’t finished primary school.

Nurses are hard to find in Abida Nowroz’s home village of Noorgram in rural Nuristan Province in eastern Afghanistan. In this isolated region, health facilities are limited and security concerns prevent many trained healthcare professionals from working in the area.

“One of my neighbours in our village gave birth,” Abida recalls. “After delivery, she didn’t stop bleeding. Her family put her on a horse to take her to the city. She died on the way.”

This is not an uncommon story in Afghanistan, which has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world. A lack of health facilities in rural areas, combined with a scarcity of female health workers, means that many women do not receive the healthcare they desperately need.

But women like Abida are set to change this situation. Along with 200 classmates, she will graduate from nursing school this year and will go to work in some of the poorest villages in her home province.

“I don’t waste a single day without learning,” says nursing student Abida. “I don’t want to see a mother die on the way to a clinic, or see her child become an orphan.”

Set up by the Afghan Ministry of Public Health with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the school is training a new generation of female healthcare workers. According to WHO, around 40 percent of health facilities in Afghanistan are without female staff, a significant problem in a country where community norms often mean that women are not allowed to receive care from male health workers.

“I’m here to learn something, so I can serve my village and my country,” Abida explains. “I’m really proud to do this. I try to study as hard as I can.”

For Abida and her classmates, school is nearly over, and now it is time to start putting what they have learnt into action.

“Now we are doing on-the-job training. After this, they’ll send us to our villages. Then we’ll practice in the village clinics. When the school is convinced we can perform well there, we’ll be given a diploma. And then we can really start work,” she said.

In addition to two years of medical training, students at the school receive accommodation, transportation, three meals a day and a nominal living allowance. While the work is hard, Abida and her classmates know that it is a unique opportunity in a country where young women often are not permitted to live or study away from home.

“My parents were very worried about how I could live away from them,” she recalls. “But for months I fought back hard until I convinced my father to give me the green light.” Abida’s older brother even left home in protest. “He argued that as a woman I wouldn’t be able to protect myself,” she says, “and that the local insurgents would harm us if they found out.”

Despite these protests Abida has continued with her studies and is already making an invaluable contribution in her local community, as she returns home during the weekend to help give intravenous drips to sick children.

The nursing school in Jalalabad is one of six across the country that are training more than 200 nurses. When the first class graduates in a couple of months, these new nurses will return to some of the most disadvantaged parts of Afghanistan, bringing much needed health care to women in the hardest to reach communities.

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